Forget VT MAE

The new $46-million maintenance and repair operation at the Pensacola International Airport will no longer be called VTMAE. The company’s official name is “ST Engineering Aerospace.”

The “M” in VTMAE stood for Mobile, Ala.

The new 173,500 sq. f.t hangar can accommodate simultaneously two of the largest Boeing 777 wide-bodies or six A321 narrow-body aircraft. It offers heavy and line maintenance services, as well as aircraft modification work, and its launch customer is United Parcel Service (UPS). The facility currently employs 150 workers and that number eventually will increase to 400.


1 thought on “Forget VT MAE

  1. Looking forward to the Pensacola Bay Area (aka Greater Pensacola) Chamber of Commerce publishing a simple breakout of the zip codes where the first 150 and later all 400 workers lived when hired and now live as I discussed with a chamber rep in 2014 after asking Mayor Ashton Hayward and the City Council to work with VTMAE to give preference in the hiring process to city residents for those jobs. As I recall, I think I was the only citizen speaker at the meeting held in the middle of the afternoon with the City Council mostly looking away not wanting to look me in the eye already beat into political submission to do as they were told. Before that meeting where Hayward waived his policy of screening citizens for weapons before City Council meetings so as to not inconvenience VTMAE executives – the policy imposed by Hayward upon the legislative branch of city government but from which he, City Council members, city staff and City Council staff appear to be exempted – a related issue arose before the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Gene Valentino proposed an initiative similar to mine intended to give Escambia County residents a better chance of being hired for the VTMAE jobs. Unexplainably, Escambia County considers businesses in Santa Rosa County to be “local businesses” and people living in Santa Rosa County to be “local residents” for the purposes of contracts, one more reason as Quint Studer says that so many who work in Escambia County want to live in Santa Rosa County [Pensacola considers its SBE local area to include all of Escambia County and Santa Rosa County and its MBE local area to extend from Mobile to Walton County.] Valentino’s motion was seconded by Commissioner Lumon May. According to Councilman Charles Bare, Hayward sitting next to him said that Valentino’s initiative seemed like a good idea. It was. Bare then told Hayward that I was pushing a similar preference for city residents. I was. Hayward then took to the podium to speak in opposition to Valentino’s idea. [Also in 2014, Hayward spoke at an East Milton groundbreaking celebrating the loss of a City of Pensacola business that took hundreds of jobs from the city economy. At the event, Hayward had his picture taken and said, “All the impact they’ve had in Pensacola will now be in the city of Milton and Santa Rosa County.”] Commissioner Grover Robinson spoke saying that he did not care if the VTMAE workers lived in Santa Rosa County. Commissioner Wilson Robinson said that he did not care in they lived in Baldwin County, Alabama. I do not recall if Commissioner Steven Barry said anything either way. Reading the political tea leaves, Valentino withdrew his initiative that I do not recall the PNJ even reporting. After the City Council rubberstamped the city’s contract with VTMAE, but before I was approached by a representative from the chamber to express support for my idea, May came up to me to thanked me for speaking up for city and county residents adding that he should have done so but felt he could not, perhaps not wanting to anger Hayward. For the record, Alabama and Santa Rosa County have no “skin” in the ST Aerospace Engineering effort though they could have ponied up money too.

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